Monday, December 29, 2008

If you're happy and you know it...

you're a skank! At least that's what they tell me. Yes, I've been in the Etsy fora again. Your place to buy and sell all things handmade and receive parenting advice from the in-house expert panel of child-free (or still in diapers) advisers. In addition, they're now offering-for a limited time (I hope.) self-esteem and awareness tips from glue gun PhDs and chastity chastising from the piety police.

The rant: teens (co-eds and legal adults) and "provocative" dress. (Examples given were: tank tops, low rise jeans, flared jeans, Nikes for babies and heels for 5 year olds-practical, not at all, provocative...not so much.) Having been muted twice for my brilliant commentary and clever placement of the f-bomb, I have taken my annoyance to a new venue. Two things I know about business are 1. Never get your meat where you make your bread. 2. Pretty in Peace is not the place for my five foot fury.

As a parent of a teen, a shapely confident woman and a progressive, liberal, feminist, bad ass, I take extreme offense to the likening of loving one's self to being lewd and lascivious. In fact it couldn't be further from the truth. Ask around, you'll find secure, confident young women are less likely to feel pressured to "put out", or experiment with drugs and alcohol. That's right. They're high on life and the occasional low-rise jeans. Sexuality is not a crime.

In my younger years and even now-don't let the homeschooling fool you, I had no issue flaunting my WHR in a pair of low-rise boot cut stretch Gap jeans. What better place to house the Great Brown Round?! Much like the academic awards and certificates that hung on the wall, this temple has been hard earned and well maintained. Why hide it? Mind, body, spirit-all of it is mine.

So now, just what are slut jeans, shirts, shoes? What is "inviting a predator"? Why are Bratz dolls a formidable opponent to an involved parent? They sure as hell get no wins around here. Get real. How is bashing self expression and confidence any different than fat hate? If I'm not to make the assumption that the woman in the plus sized caftan is unhappy with her body size, depressed and shiftless, how can one in the same vein assume that form fitting attire is any indication of a lack of prudence, self respect or a cry for negative attention? Further, what do we call men who work out at the gym 8 times a week when they step out in their form fitting Ricky Martin gear? You don't. You hope they'll call you! Well, I'm calling foul and I'm calling ya'll out.

When my parents were teens, dungarees were the devil. In the 70's, hot pants were the fastest route to Hades. In the 80's my Calvin Klein mini was a cardinal sin. The 90's...well the 90's were an abomination, but you get the point. It's about more than just the packaging. Ease up on the Haterade, it's bad for your teeth.

Our children are not ourselves. Hell, they aren't even our children, ask Gibran. Trust if you are making the investments, the rewards will be vested and so what if they're housed in a pair of low rise boot cut stretch Gap jeans! (If I type it enough, I'm hoping maybe they will bring them back.)

And, if I'm talking out of my finely shaped ass, please tell me how your life has been adversely affected by pubescent crimes of fashion, and I'll buy you a beer.


High Desert Diva said...

Hear, hear!

*clinks wine glass to Tameka's beer glass, sits back and waits*

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Speak, baby. Speak. It. Around these parts, it's actually against school policy to wear short shirts, low pants, long t-shirts, or any shirt with a strap less than three fingers. You get caught, you get sent home; get caught a second time, you get detention. My niece, who looks exactly like a damn Bratz doll, would get PICKED on by grown ass women who seemed to be mad that she was cute. I had to buy her a whole new wardrobe so the teachers would get off her back. But guess what?! When you shop for a 16-year-old, all that's out there is low-cut jeans, short shirts, and, in the summer time, spaghetti-strapped shirts. They wear this because that's what the hell The Gap and Old Navy and anyone else making clothes for teenagers sell. I found, though, that the fashion police only pulled over the black girls. I wonder why...

shiborigirl said...

Amen, Sister!

I grew up in a very judgmental household with a double standard: My parents were very quick to make snap judgments about someone based on their looks. Yet, as the parents of a well-endowed teenager, wanted me to flaunt my stuff, much to my own inner mortification. Thereby, incurring snap judgments in others toward me. Very confusing, and not very good for my own self-esteem.

It's taken me years to overcome it.

I don't understand the mentality of teens today who willingly slap down good money in stores to come out looking like $20 hookers. I just don't get it. AND I don't get how their parents allow it to happen.

Ah, for the good old days of enforced dress codes in school - no jeans, dresses for the girls, shirts and ties for the boys.

Now I sound like an old fart...

Happy New Year,


Oh, and I don't go to the Etsy fora anymore - the vibe there is too weird. I much prefer the uncensored blog environment!

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

wholly, molly! I'm on both sides of this issue (or maybe the middle). I guess some things do go to far for me (I chaffe, but don't generally say too much to my son about his droppy drawers and baggy pants) and I didn't sign the permission slip allowing my then 16-year old daughter to get her belly button pierced (told her should could get it done at 18 when she didn't need my permission 18 she didn't want one).

I'm trying to come out of my baggy caftan stage, and I am wearing trimmer clothing myself.

Mostly, I'd say: stay out of the forums. You don't need ' are beyond that type of self-promotion.

Hang out with us!!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

I don't even care what the teens look like, it's a natural part of finding themselves to go through a stage of assholiness. It is the adults that slam such harsh titles on children. Until adults start calling 40 year old Sue Citizen with the obvious boob job a skank, slut, whore, streetwalker over her very conscious choices, they need to lay off the young people. All people deserve respect.

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

I do agree about teens....not worth worrying about and certainly not fighting over. Sara was "cool" when I pointed out I had the choice to not sign the form just as she had a choice to get one eventually.

This posting really ties to your earlier "T-party" because playground bullies grow up and sometimes stay bullies...

Weith Kick said...

If you're sexy and you know it clap your hands. Nothing wrong with showing off what you got.

Ms. Bar B: said...

I agree... fashion is fashion is fashion. It always has been. Its a form of expression and as we all should know, the ways in which the youth can choose to express themselves is endless... as it should be.

Reminds me of a time when I was younger and I witnessed a teenage member of the church be given a "talking to" because her pencil skirt was too tight. What that really translates into is that the pastor was probably getting a little hot under the collar by looking at her lady lumps.

Just what the hell is wrong with sexuality? Nothing. I think its way more productive to promote healthy sexualities instead of banishing sexuality all together. And when I say healthy sexuality, I am not just talking about sexual health, I am talking about promoting sexual pride.

Edi Style said...

Never liked them. Went to A & F for J.D ... how low can they go? those poor fingers must be really sore from pulling up all day

Vodka Mom said...

loved this post. Fashion IS fashion, but I love it when people express themselves. In a non-slutty, cover your ass way.

*clink* ing my martini to you........

Kala Pohl Studio said...

I am with you! Young people express themselves in different ways - its a journey of finding themselves. Definitely not a time for judgements.

Stay out of the forums:):)

Meka said...

I've always had a tendency toward being a bit conservative. It's a rare day when I feel like flaunting what I got (maybe 'cause I aint got much!). I fear for my future daughter... "Excuse me, young lady, just where the hell do you think you're going in that?"

While I'm all for self-expression, I do have a problem with teeny boppers, and under, expressing what they don't even know yet to be themselves. What I'm saying is, at 13, NO, she should not be broadcasting her thong, jumping up from her low-rises, to the horny boys on the block. At 10, NO, she shouldn't be slathering on the eye shadow, as the image in the mirror reflects the T-shirt pick of the day: "I'm sexy-- even your man thinks so." At 7, NO, her little bird legs don't need to be poking out of an 8-inch width of denim posing as a skirt. And at 5, she absolutely should NOT be hiding her some-day lady lumps with a spaghetti strap tank.

As an elementary school teacher, I've seen all of this and worse (all this, while they're strolling down the hallway singing about something about, "Boy, let me show you how to do it..."

It's just too much. I'm all for school uniforms! Seriously, cover it up. When you're a big kid, and you understand the implications of your sexy dress, then you can make those informed decisions. But young teens and under, seriously, shouldn't HAVE any sexuality to express!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

I've read all of the comments and I'm still troubled that there should be any "implication". Isn't it gender bias? If tank tops do not imply wife beating alcoholic boys then why do they imply oversexualized lascivious girls. Isn't this merely our perception? A stigma society has placed on female sexuality and not factually indicative of the child's perception of their individual sexuality?

It's interesting, I'm sure I'll be writing about this more in the future.

Either way I caution adults who label and box young women based on appearance that playground persecutory antics are never okay, but they are downright shameful once your breasts start sagging :D

Thanks all.

fly tie said...

awwww hell!! the etsy forums.

i'm more a lurker over there than anything, but i've been known to go through page after page after page of these sorts of discussions and debates. i somehow missed this one, though.

and you dropping the f-bomb? ha! woulda loved to have witnessed that. and i do not doubt that it was indeed done cleverly.

"Sexuality is not a crime"


and that piece by gibran is pretty interesting. i like it.

i have nothing more to say. you summed it up quiet nicely in the witty and humorous way that you always do. :-D

and in closing: work whatcha got!!

casserole said...

For me, the important issue is not so much what you're wearing but why you're wearing it. If you wear the tight pants because they flatter your rear and you feel like a tigress, by all means go ahead and flaunt it. But if you're wearing low cut, tight fitting clothes because you're afraid no one will look at you if you don't let it all hang out, then there are some self-respect issues that need to be ironed out. Clothes don't make someone a slut, low self-esteen does. There are just as many buttoned up tight respectable clothes wearing sluts as there are knee-high boot, tight jeaned, belly-baring ones.

As for the Bratz dolls, I'm not so keen on them but my main issue is not so much the clothes as the focus on shopping, shopping, shopping. I cringe when my daughter comes home from my MILs after having watched the Bratz and starts wanting to give me makeovers. For a week after, the bathroom sink science experiments take backseat to smearing powder on her face and glitzing with jewelry.

Agent 37 said...

Hi Tameka! (It's Kerry from MoonBeamArts)
Don't go into the Etsy Forums. It's the bitchy part of town and you don't belong there. any age wear what makes them feel good. For what ever reason... there's a million different reasons for a million different girls!
I always love parenting advise from moms of toddlers. So helpful.
I have three boys, and I've seen some odd clothing choices over the years. My youngest was told he couldn't wear a bandana in his hair to keep his long locks out of his eyes. Girls wear head bands, no problem.
Shouldn't it be up to a parent how their child dresses?

Libby Buttons said...

Freedom of choice always comes with consequence. I had a beautiful friend who I shared clothing with when we were in college. We were young and had the whole package. She was found raped and murdered in the basement of the dorm. Her itty bitty halter top and panties had been removed and taken. Five years later they solved the crime. The murderer was connected to 4 other rapes and murders in the area, collecting an article of clothing from each girl, the youngest of whom was 14, he had her high heeled Candies . We need to always be aware that being yourself and expressing yourself also means that someone else out there less stable is also going to "Be" and "express" themselves. Seeing as how we shared clothing, I had to submit hair samples to city detectives (large inner city). It was all very utopia shattering. I was 19. That is when I began to realize how we impact another, unbeknownst to us. It is unfortunate that a small percentage of the population doesnt see self expression as innocently. There are allot of people on this little planet. Being misunderstood is a common occurrence due to the diversity of perception. Sometimes the misunderstanding can have grave consequence. Being alive is a risk. I say, "to thine own self be true" but know that everything has potential consequence.

M Ayers said...


I was just lurking at some old posts and stumbled upon this one.

I hope one day we can accept people and their choices, even little people. No clothes don't make girls sluts, and it doesn't get girls raped (sorry!!! Rape is an act of violence, NOT sexuality).

Having low self-esteem doesn't make you a slut; its having sex with multiple partners without any commitments. Most sluts I know are happy as a lark - so I'm not convinced its a bad thing if it's your thing.

Clothes is an outward expression of our inner self.

Maybe some girls do know, even at 5 that they want to be sexy. Not sexy as sexually active adults see it, but sexy as they like being a girl, and appreciate what differentiates them from boys. Maybe some girls feel a more accurate expression of themselves is to have baggy jeans and tees. Why the judgments?

We are, much to many people's chagrin, sexual beings any old way.

Good grief. Kids must think we are pretty weird. They see a cute doll, we see a slutty doll. Wow.

And what's wrong with make up? Boys can simulate playing with tools with daddy, or playing sports like daddy, but girls can't dress up like mommy?

I was really blown away by this one, 5 months too late.

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